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PureDWTS Season 24: ABC Apparently In Talks to Buy “American Idol” – So What Does That Mean For Dancing with the Stars???

This has been on my radar for a few days now, and many of you have tweeted me asking what I thought – well now that I’m not quite as bogged down with my 9-5 and we’re headed into the lull of the weekend, I’m ready to weigh in…

…for those just tuning in, according to TMZ (and a bunch of other reputable sources), ABC is currently in talks to buy the rights to American Idol:

American Idol” has only been off the air a year, but seems it’s still the hottest property out there, because we’ve learned ABC has now made an offer to buy the show.

Sources at ABC and Fremantle — the company that produces the show — tell TMZ the network contacted Fremantle last week and made the bid. We’re told the network wanted to reboot the show for a March 2018 premiere.

Given that they would be aiming for a March 2018 premiere, I think the obvious question is “So…what happens to DWTS, then?” because that would fit the same schedule as a spring season of DWTS.  I don’t think ABC has the carrying capacity for two big-name reality TV competition shows airing concurrently, so I think the most likely scenario is that Idol would take the place of a spring season of DWTS, thereby reducing DWTS to a one-season-per-year show in the fall only, much like Strictly Come Dancing in the UK.

I think Heidi & I have ruminated on the pros and cons of DWTS potentially getting reduced to one season per year for several seasons now, and have determined that the pros would far outweigh the cons – you’d avoid some of the oversaturation viewers seems to be experiencing in recent years, it would allow for more selective casting (fewer spots to fill = more leeway to hold out for better stars), and hopefully the overall quality of the show would go up (fewer seasons = less need to come up with gimmicks to keep things “fresh” all the time). And if the show’s gonna go to one season, they’d be better off eighty-sixing the spring one, which always scores lower in ratings than the fall season – so if reducing DWTS from one season to two is what ABC is aiming to do, I’d say this is their best bet, and is probably a bit overdue, anyway, given the level of f*ckery we’ve seen the last few seasons.

So it’s pretty much a done deal, then, right? We’re in our last spring season of DWTS, and the show’s gonna smoothly transition into a fall-only endeavor?

Not so fast.  There are a few obstacles in place that might prevent all of this from going off without a hitch – the first being that ABC ain’t the only one trying to get their hands on Idol:

TMZ broke the story … NBC and FOX were in a bidding war a few months ago to get the show, but Fremantle stopped negotiating because of squabbling with CORE, co-owner of ‘A.I.’

Our sources say Fremantle is going back to CORE to see if they can agree to negotiate with ABC, and go back to NBC and FOX.

Apparently NBC was also looking to snap Idol up, and in a move that doesn’t quite make sense to me, FOX was trying to nab them, too (so…why did they let them go in the first place, then?).  And understandably, Freemantle is  probably trying to hold out for the best offer. There’s also the minor issue of Ryan Seacrest’s return as host being nary impossible at this point:

We’re also told ABC inquired about making Ryan Seacrest the host, but even last week the network knew it was on the verge of signing Ryan as co-host of ‘Live’ with Kelly Ripa. As a result, we’re told ABC asked if the show could be shot in New York, which is now Ryan’s home base. Our sources say Fremantle made it clear … NYC was a no-go. The show will be shot in L.A.

We’re told Ryan hasn’t been approached by ABC about hosting the show and our ABC sources say it’s virtually out of the question, given his commitment to ‘Live.’

While Idol certainly COULD go on without Seacrest, part of me wonders if part of the appeal for ABC in picking up Idol is to have a show that already comes with a ratings-guaranteed fanbase – a fanbase that sorta hinges upon certain constants on the show, such as Seacrest hosting, having certain judges, etc. Since the show would likely be up against The Voice in its time slot, I’m thinking ABC wants a guaranteed ratings-grabber – and while the format of Idol may be a successful one, I’m not sure how much rebooting can be done before you run the risk of running some of the longtime Idol fans off. ABC may run into similar problems trying to cast judges – if they’re trying to pick up some of the old standbys, they could run into issues trying to book J.Lo and Harry Connick Jr., who are both contractually obligated to NBC these days (J.Lo for Shades of Blue and World of Dance, Harry for his daytime talk show, Harry). I don’t know how realistically affordable Simon Cowell would be, anyway, but he’s also kinda committed to NBC via his involvement on America’s Got Talent.  Paula’s a judge on So You Think You Can Dance on FOX. It doesn’t look like Randy Jackson or Keith Urban are committed to any other major networks, but are they enough to hold together a judges’ panel with 1-2 other new judges? And perhaps a new host?

My doubts about those last few items makes me think that, unless ABC can win the bidding war for Idol AND manage to book some of the old favorites from the series, we’re going to continue seeing a spring season of DWTS until ABC can find another suitable replacement – because even though DWTS’ ratings might be declining, they’re still a ratings juggernaut for ABC, and have been consistently beating The Voice in total viewers for a few seasons now. I don’t see them dumping that kind of success unless they can find something that’s going to be a guaranteed hit, right out of the gate – and I’m not sure there’s a whole lotta shows out there that are gonna fit the bill. But the very fact that they appear to be looking? Tells me that DWTS could be in a bit of trouble…not “cancel it completely” trouble – yet – but certainly “Do we really need two seasons a year instead of just one?” trouble…

…what are your thoughts, though?

May 5, 2017 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

46 responses to "PureDWTS Season 24: ABC Apparently In Talks to Buy “American Idol” – So What Does That Mean For Dancing with the Stars???"

  1. # Vin commented on May 5, 2017:

    Love the show but my worry is this: last two seasons weren’t great and ratings were down enough for fox to say goodbye so I guess the question is this: is this risk worth it?

  2. # EmnEm commented on May 5, 2017:

    One season of DWTS on the Fall? Sign me up! The show is pushin it with recycling songs, outfits, and many pros seem burnt out. It’s not a complete cancelation, but a good time to go back to the drawing board and tighten the loose bolts, cuz boy is it gettin squeaky.

    American Idol? Way TOOO soon. They need to wait. But, I can see ABC producing the show and trying to morph X FACTOR and DWTS together for a American Idol 2.0 (pairing contestants up with singer/songwriters who train and perform with them each week, having a finale at The Grove, etc.)

    I agree it’s a HUGE risk if they start fresh and it may backfire. Is it too soon to create a new Simon, Paula, Randy? FOX struggled ridiculously with rebranding the show. But, if FOX loses out maybe they’ll bring X FACTOR back to compete with it.

  3. # EmnEm commented on May 5, 2017:

    Can Cheryl Burke be a co-host on the show? ? lol

  4. # Vin commented on May 5, 2017:

    I’m hoping NBC gets it to be honest. J lo, Harry, and Simon….sounds good to me. Plus they have success with singing shows. ABC not so much

  5. # Becky H commented on May 5, 2017:

    I was a big fan of Idol, was sad to see it go but if Seacrest isn’t available and ABC gets it over Fox/NBC I think it will flop. ABC doesn’t have a good history with singing competitions and Seacrest just made that show tick. I would support DWTS only being on once a year. When NBC was in the running that is what they were pitching for the Voice. Spring Idol, Fall The Voice.

  6. # Nice Miriam commented on May 5, 2017:

    Idol can only be successful again if they manage to get Simon back.. part of Idol’s charm was watching Simon’s reaction & him grilling the contestants (mercilessly, rudely but honestly). Since Simon left.. & JLO started judging..the show went downhill.. & a flop.

    So i doubt ABC can manage to get Simon.. as he’s contracted to NBC for AGT.. so i’ll be happy if Idol goes to NBC instead.. as then Simone will be able to judge again.

  7. # Nukegrrrl commented on May 5, 2017:

    If this deal goes down, it guarantees that DWTS will never be aired during the same timeslot as Idol.

    I guess that means my grandma will now have less incentive than ever to learn how to program that VCR.

  8. # PJC commented on May 6, 2017:

    I guess I’m in the minority, but I don’t want DWTS cut to once a year. It might be wearing a little thin and I get tired of the producers tricks but it’s still my favorite. I always miss it during the off seasons, so I definitely don’t what that to be even longer!

  9. # Cali commented on May 6, 2017:

    Me too, PJC. I already get antsy during the 3 months between seasons. I’ve been watching this show for 10 years and still love it in spite of the way its changed.

  10. # M8 commented on May 6, 2017:

    The rumours are that ABC want to air it on Mondays but the actual owners of Idol want it to air on Sundays. Also if Ryan Seacrest was to host, it could only air on Sunday night so that he could get a flight back to NY in time for Live. Personally I think if ABC does get it it’ll only succeed if they get Simon back. Either way ABC has to announce their schedule soon so we won’t have to wait long to find out, if DWTS does get cut to once a year, I wonder they’ll extend the fall season by a couple of weeks and have say 16 couples like Strictly does rather than the usual 13. They’d have to have a second show in the first couple of weeks to accommodate all the couples but it could be possible.

  11. # Narice commented on May 6, 2017:

    While I agree that DWTS once a year WOULD cut down on some of the manipulation and no doubt keep things fresher I don’t know that I’d like that.

    As for Idol when Simon left I pretty much lost interest. He is to Idol viewers what Len is to DWTS.
    Both shows revolve around a grumpy critic whose opinion is valued because “knows his stuff.”
    Idol AGT and DWTS have ALWAYS cashed in on the notion that
    “If THEY like you you MUST be good!” It gives both shows an “air of credibility” and distracts viewers from the puppet master’s manipulations.

    So they might get by without Ryan but I don’t think they can do it without Simon. For that reason AND the fact I’d like to enjoy DWTS awhile longer I hope they’ll go with NBC

  12. # Anonymous commented on May 6, 2017:

    I keep reading the same rumors, on social media, that if the deal goes through, ABC plans on putting IDOL on Sundays so DWTS wouldn’t have to compete with it on the same night/time slot.

    Me personally, I would have NO PROBLEM if DWTS went down to one season a year-I wish they’d do it anyway regardless of IDOL lol

  13. # M8 commented on May 6, 2017:

    Narice I completely forgot that Simon was NBC family as he does AGT. In that case this revival just got a lot more difficult. Personally I think this makes it even more important that they get Ryan back. The only way they can do it is by airing Sunday. It just doesn’t make sense to me anyway why they’d air it against the Voice. They share an audience and will lose viewers, whereas DWTS does not share an audience with the Voice which is why their ratings have held up so well over the years against it.

  14. # Leigh commented on May 6, 2017:

    Personally I have no problem with them cutting back DWTS to a fall season only, regardless of what happens with an AI reboot. I make new secret of the fact that I no longer watch the show live for the entire two hours. I generally watch only those celebs that interest me and I avoid the highly edited packages and the judges comments as they are manipulative and often ridiculous! I’m not sure if the manipulation would go away with once a year cycles, but they might get me to tune in again; right now I’m pretty disappointed in this season and frankly they are going through have to get an amazing cast to get me back in the fall!

    I think cutting back to a fall season might be good for the pros as I imagine this back to back if shows, tours, shows has the be hard on their bodies! But, then again, reducing the show would have an impact on them financially!

  15. # DWTSfan commented on May 6, 2017:

    Has there ever been any discussion about another All-Star Season? With Season 25 coming up in the fall, I was wondering if they would mark that milestone with an all star cast! Because I cant deny, seeing some old favorites back on the floor (Bindi, Riker, Calvin, James, Alfonso) would definitely be fun! Has there been any discussion about this??

  16. # Justin commented on May 6, 2017:

    NBC also runs The Voice the same way as DWTS. They air a Fall and a Spring season, so they might also be looking to cut The Voice down to one season, particularly since outside of Blake and Adam, the other two judges seats have been a rotating carousel of performers.

    I’d be interesting to see what someone does with Idol if it comes back. To be honest, that franchise really needs a reboot in their format. It floundered badly in its last few seasons.

    I would hope to not see Harry Connick Jr. involved. He became the CAI of Idol over its last two years, harping on intonation and being pitchy, whether it was really the case or not. I think he had some giant diatribe about the chromatic scale and why someone was off pitch. It was as ridiculous as some of CAI’s critiques.

  17. # Katy commented on May 6, 2017:

    Just read at TVLINEcom that ABC secured the rights for Idol to start March 2018 on Sunday with Seacrest hosting.

  18. # Christina commented on May 6, 2017:

    I’m one of the few people on earth who is not a fan of Ryan he’s boring to me so if they did Idol without him I’d totally watch

    I’d love to see what dwts would look like with one less season per year

  19. # JM commented on May 6, 2017:

    Sunday night is not a big night for TV viewing. I’m surprised they would put Idol on that night.

  20. # Courtney commented on May 6, 2017:

    @DWTSFan – There isn’t gonna be another all-stars, I reckon – this is what ABC execs had to say after season 15, and the general gist seemed to be “all-stars was a failure, we won’t do it again”.

  21. # JM commented on May 6, 2017:

    #Christina I’m with you about Ryan. I would be more likely to watch Idol if he wasn’t on it. I don’t think we’re alone though, I don’t know anyone who likes him. He’s the one people blame for bringing the Kardashian’s to fame.

  22. # M8 commented on May 6, 2017:

    It’ll definitely be bad news for the pros if the show was cut. The big draw for dwts pros is the fact that two series a year means more work and money for them. It’s bad news for the pros and their bank balances if the show gets cut. The likes of Derek if he was still on the show wouldn’t be affected because he is big enough to find work elsewhere but the likes of the Chermerkovskys and the rest of the pros would be in trouble. As a fan of the show I’m greedy and would rather see it twice a year although I’ve hugely fallen out of love with it in recent seasons and no longer watch live. The one solid pro of being once a year is that the show would surely be able to cast bigger stars. They’d have more money to offer and the show would be a bigger draw for celebs.

  23. # Princess Heidi commented on May 6, 2017:

    Speak for yourself, JM – I have lots I watch on Sunday.

  24. # Casanova commented on May 6, 2017:

    DWTS is money for the pros, but I also think they’d like a better product out there. The fall has a lot of plusses, including ratings. the only gimmick that needs to stay is Halloween since it can produce great themes for the Disney brand. I think a once a year show is great, and like Strictly they now would have room to do a Christmas Special Show that happens maybe two weeks after the Fall finale, which could be a lot of fun, great Christmas themed production numbers, and the contestants would dance a favorite dance to Christmas music and themes. On Strictly they invite 6 couples who prepare a dance, they could be from the recent season, or if they can’t commit it could be a mini all stars, The dances get scored and the studio audience votes, you could probably include America’s vote to tally the winner. ABC seems to really want to bring Christmas into the show as shown by last year’s finale. Ballroom dancing is a perfect fit for Christmas and New Years dancing. And it would be a more relevant seasonal way to launch a tour.

  25. # JM commented on May 6, 2017:

    I watch on shows on Sunday too PH, but TVbythenumbers has been writing lately about how low viewership has gone for the networks on Sundays. Maybe Idol can reverse the trend.

  26. # Sandy commented on May 6, 2017:

    Let me see, American Idol had become old and stale. So now let’s revamp it… oh wait, it’s not a revamp, let’s get Ryan back.

    So I’m confused. Doesn’t this whole concept of AI returning seem way too risky? Same show.. possible Same host.

    Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if the DWTS was cut to one season a year. While I won’t be happy if it does. I have to be honest after this season and all the TPTB manipulations and such. This show just might need a break to regroup.

  27. # EmnEm commented on May 6, 2017:

    DWTSfan, you may be right. I was thinking the same thing they they may do another All-Stars since it’s the 25the season…maybe they’ll bring Heather back?

    Personally, I HATE All-Stars seasons…it’s just a hot mess.

    I think ABC should honestly just focus on DWTS tbh. I’m over American Idol and it’s wayyy too soon.

    I’d rather see X FACTOR be brought in on another network than FOX, because they did a helluva bad job when they had their tester seasons with Demi and Britney Spears.

  28. # Vin commented on May 6, 2017:

    I’m cool with sunday but then again I really don’t watch tv on Sunday.

  29. # Joanne B. commented on May 6, 2017:

    Hallmark has some great series on Sunday nights. Wonder if this is a reason why the bigger networks are losing viewers. I have never watched AI and don’t want to start, with or without Ryan Seacrest. ABC has really messed up DWTS and I, too, no longer watch the show live or in its entirety, so reducing it to once a year just may improve it a little….at least one can hope.

  30. # Vin commented on May 6, 2017:

    @joanne B: I read somewhere that hallmark did great on weekends during holiday time with their movies. I think between hbo and hallmark they probably are doing great on sundays. The only other channel I can think of when I think of sunday tv is fox to be honest becuase of the animation domination sunday block. I think abc could be fun with once upon a time, afv, and idol on sundays.

  31. # Courtney commented on May 6, 2017:

    Errr, Sunday is actually the most watched night of the week on television – and the number decreases slightly each successive day before finally bottoming out on Friday/Saturday. I think the big test, though, is going to be what timeslot they’re in – I’m assuming 8-10 PM, which would pit it against NCIS: L.A., Madame Secretary, Chicago Justice, and potentially The Walking Dead, Into the Badlands, Homeland, and Keeping Up with the Kardashians, depending on when those shows begin/end their respective seasons. They may be able to do alright(ish) in the 8-10 spot, but I think they’re potentially doomed if they spill into the 10-11 PM slot – because that’s when the big hitters like Game of Thrones, VEEP, Billions, and American Gods (which is AWESOME, BTW) start coming on the premium channels. Sundays tend to favor well-written, critically-acclaimed shows on cable – I think a fluffy reality show on one of the big four channels might get eaten alive.

  32. # Kandy commented on May 6, 2017:

    I think the only way for Idol to survive is if they completely rework it. New format, new faces, etc. they drag out these shows way too long anyway, The Voice, Idol, DWTS, AGT, etc. I wish they could do abreviated versions. I loved watching the Sing Off, 2 weeks and we had a winner.

  33. # M8 commented on May 6, 2017:

    Sunday Football and AMC’s The Walking Dead rake the vast majority of Sunday viewers in, leaving everyone else feeding on scraps. Idol on Sunday would get ABC back in the game rather than having fractional shows like Once Upon A Time airing. The thing about Idol is, live viewing figures are so low these days that the numbers Idol drew in its final season would be considered a hit. That’s why struggling networks like ABC and FOX are so desperate to buy it and revive it. NBC don’t need it as much as they have a lot of strong performing dramas like This is Us, Law and Order and the Chicago shows along with their own reality juggernaut in the Voice. Another option not considered is perhaps DWTS moving to Sunday nights in the Spring with Idol on Monday. It’s not logistically possible to have DWTS on Sunday in the fall mainly due to Bruno and Len’s Strictly commitments but Spring could be a different story.

  34. # Casanova commented on May 6, 2017:

    To Be Honest, I am not sure why Seacrest has to be the lynchpin for ABC. It’s not like he’s Tom Bergeron, who has been synonymous with a decent overall ratings share, Seacrest is part of a franchise that progressively tanked and he didn’t do much to keep it alive. I would look at strong ABC personalities to pick up the torch, maybe Jimmy Kimmel would like to expand his late night presence, he’s certainly on the minds of everyone these days, or someone from Modern Family, or Ellen, or Viola Davis, lots of possible strong personalities that people will just tune in to watch, and these peeps know it.
    Monday night would be the best night for the show, and I guess to answer the question about all stars, the Christmas Special in Britain is only one show. Imagine the hype and the ratings you could get from a Christmas Dancing With the Stars. I bet you could really mine for A Listers for a single show like that. All those people who have been approached but would never do a season, would definitely think hard about a Christmas appearance, especially if they are trying to sell that book, or market that must have product.

  35. # EmnEm commented on May 7, 2017:

    I don’t know how much a Christmas Special DWTS would be watched if it wasn’t LIVE. Part of the novelty of DWTS is that it’s live and really is a cool experience when you think about it as a viewer. How many crew, celebs, pros, etc. want to work on or near Christmas….not sure? They tend to try to wrap things up fast by Thanksgiving.

  36. # Sandy commented on May 7, 2017:

    It’s being reported that ABC won the bidding war for American Idol. So if the report is true then American Idol will be on ABC.

    Well I’m not looking forward to the return of American Idol. It went off the air for a reason, the concept and the show was worn out.

  37. # Voguerista commented on May 7, 2017:

    I’d love to see just one season of DWTS (in the Fall) and then for ABC to pick up Idol for the Spring! If Idol is coming back, I hope Simon comes back too. It was never the same without him.

  38. # Sandy commented on May 7, 2017:

    Yes I will agree. American Idol was never the same without Simon. As much as I disagreed with him at times. He was glue that held the show together.

    @Vogue – That’s probably what will happen with DWTS and American Idol.

  39. # Sandra commented on May 7, 2017:

    Ok I see we have another Sandy on here so I’m gonna put myself as Sandra. Hope that’s all right with the ladies of this amazing site!

    I wouldn’t mind seeing DWTS do just once a year. Doing DWTS is a very time-consuming job and cutting it back to once a year would allow the producers to find better celebrities that more people would know. That way we don’t have to hear, “who is that? I don’t know who that is!” as much! Doing this would give them more time to find them, I guess. Also, I’m sure the pros are tired! Even if they’re eliminated early, they still come back for pro dances, bumpers etc… Then you got the tour and stuff like that. So when do they find a whole lot of time to do what they want? The only downside of this for those of who have favorite pros, we don’t see them as much on DWTS but at least we’ll probably see them somewhere while they’re doing something else!

  40. # Figamentation commented on May 7, 2017:

    Meh to American Idol, and selfishly I do hope they continue with two seasons a year for DWTS. I know it’s not destined to be on forever, but I do enjoy it in the spring and fall, even if this season has been on the lower end of the enjoyment scale for me.

  41. # Vin commented on May 7, 2017:

    This would be my ideal judges for the idol reboot (all new judges though except for one): Kelly Clarkson, Keith urban, and (this one is just a dream Judge but on the off chance lol) mick jagger.

  42. # Rose1 commented on May 7, 2017:

    Even at its lowest, Idol ratings were better than DWTS, but I would assume it was also more costly given the caliber of judges. Will be interesting to see what ABC does with it. Id bet they would love to beat the Voice.

  43. # Carrie W commented on May 8, 2017:

    For me – the second they added Kara DioGuardi as the 4th judge that show started it’s decline. I stopped watching years ago. It became so stale and I was so bored with it. Now, if mean ol’ Simon is back on, then maybe I’ll watch it again! Although I do think his son has softened Simon a bit (the horror!).
    As for DWTS, I think one season per year is more than enough – American Idol or no American Idol. This show has gotten so stale too and all the manipulation just wears me out! I know – I should just change the channel but I just can’t turn away from train wrecks!
    It’ll be interesting to see what happens….

  44. # Nukegrrrl commented on May 8, 2017:

    Laughing at the irony of Disney purchasing what was once known as Fox’s “Death Star,” haha

    ABC has been dying for years to have a hit singing contest. I was hoping that if they revived an old franchise though, they’d revive NBC’s “America’s Kidz Got Singing.”

  45. # Courtney commented on May 8, 2017:

    @Nukegrrrl – I’m still trying to wrap my brain around why they think this is a good idea. If they’re looking to flush money down the toilet, I think it’s a spectacular idea; but if they’re looking to make money, they’d probably be better off hiring Piers Morgan to make fart sound effects for an hour, live on air.

    If I recall, ABC has had several singing contests – and none of them have turned out to be “hits”. Duets & Rising Star were both flops, and I feel like there was at least one more (maybe with bands?) that was godawful.

  46. # Nukegrrrl commented on May 8, 2017:

    Aha – I think I hit upon the only thing that makes sense! Clearly, it’s destined to be a vehicle for Normani!

    (Just kidding. I hope.)

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